First published in The Express Tribune.
I know it’s a silly song but I am tired of being relegated to sidelines because I am a woman and I make my own choices based on informed ideas rather than propaganda. I want my rightful space in the national narrative and I want it NOW!
PS: The reason I have only mentioned ANP and MQM is that these are the only two parties where women hold positions as central as Senior Vice-President and Deputy Convener. PPP’s CEC has a fair number of women, in addition, there are a few female politicians from PTI, and the high profile female parliamentarians of PML-Q. With Maryan Nawaz Shareef, even PML-N is trying to score with women and young adults.
Here is another Member of National Assembly violating the law. The traffic police is busy convincing people to use the standardized number plates issued by the provincial government in yellow color with black letters. This number plate is the same color as car and has letters in silver italics.
So, after these elections, we chose a man who became a youtube legend (there are two entries of the same video with over 160,000 views) for groping – but hey, what red blooded Pakistani male would not do that?
The newly elected PM is a close relative of Peer Pagara who defines the word ‘establishment’ which also tells us how ‘independent’ the new PM will be.
Mr. Gillani is a human and he may have got carried away at that time. Or may be, what looked ‘boobie groping’ then could actually be ‘boobie guarding’ in that unruly crowd. We must give that benefit of doubt to our new ‘elected’ leader for the sake of JO QAUM APNAY LEADER KI IZZAT NAHEE KARTI… WHO AGAY NAHEE BADHTI!
Besides, who is a clean person in
Another women’s day had passed. I was invited to four different events that day, but I chose the one organized by Goethe Institut and Oxford University Press. It was the launch of a book that was the effort of young Pakistani writers. A year ago, young writers’ competition was launched, 600 stories were submitted and only twelve were chosen to be part of the book titled, “Voices & Visions.”
The reason I chose this event was simple; I wanted to avoid the rhetoric that abounds on International Women’s Day. I thought there would be young people talking about literature and philosophy. Sadly, it did not turn out to be like that. There were customary speeches, a few reading by young writers (quite unimpressive, I am afraid) and then came the chief guest Justice (r) Nasira Iqbal and ruined it all.
Before I go any further, let me introduce her. Justice Iqbal is wife of Justice Javed Iqbal and daughter-in-law of Dr. Muhammed Iqbal a.ka. Allama Iqbal. Before this moot, I thought very highly of her, not only for being a woman judge in Punjab High Court but also for continuing education till late in life. She finished off her LLM in her fifties from
Honestly, she lost me after the first 4 sentences and my friend Zeenia and I started talking about how people do not accord the basic courtesy to the spirit of event and hijack it, even Harvard grad retired judges. When she was unable to do justice to her role as the chief guest, what do we expect from her and the movement that is being run by people like her? In my opinion, lawyers too would turn into a ‘bull in the china shop’ like Pakistani media already has. Pakistani media believes that it is above and beyond law and regulation and anything against them is against the freedom of speech. Lawyers would follow suit and don’t even get me started on parliamentarians. Between Zardari and Nawaz Shariff, it has already been decided that no parliamentarians would be tried for corruption. That would leave people like us who have no recourse but stay put, leave the country or die in silence.
I only wished that someone switched her mike off, but was reminded by my friend that it happen only in the assembly and that too when members from opposition speak. I suffered the indignity of her speech in silence (rolling eyes does not count) and left.
I know I am a certified cynic and am generally pissed when grown up people (who in my opinion should grow out of their rose tinted glasses at the ripe old age of 8) present a hopeful picture of a future that none of us will see in our lifetimes. Waisay tau I have grievances against a lot of things but it pains me to see that people actually believe that the ongoing struggle for the restoration (!) of judiciary is anything but power struggle between two men (Musharraf and Chaudhry) with mammoth egos (both are delusional enough to think that they are indispensable).
For all my naïve friends who think this struggle is about reclaiming the dignity of the institution of judiciary and not about personalities should know that in Pakistani context, it is always about personalities and almost never about either the institutions or the country.
History provides us with enough evidence. Ayub Khan kicked the civilian govt. out for the betterment of the country, in his opinion of course, and assumed power becasue he thought he was the best man for the job. Pakistani politicians insisted that all cases be dropped against Mujeeb-ur-Rehman (of Awami league) after he was found guilty in Agartilla conspiracy to destabilize Ayub Khan’s govt, because it suited their immediate goal of rattling Ayub Khan (a personality). Z. A. Bhutto refused to hand over the power to the party, Awami League, that was in majority because he wanted to be in power, the country be damned, Bhutto Sahib, the martial law administrator, wanted to relinquish power only to Bhutto Sahib, the PM. No other candidate, even if he was in majority, was worthy enough. Zia hanged Bhutto because he feared that even a jailed Bhutto can be dangerous for his uninterrupted rule. He introduced drugs and small arms and Islamic militancy in the country courtesy over active participation in Afghan war to sustain his stay in power. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Shariff fought it out between the two of them throughout 1990s, each claiming to be the saviour of the country and democracy. Musharaff toppled Sharif’s govt when he heard that the latter sacked him and CJ Chaudhry is striking back because it is now his job that is in the line. It never was about the institution of judiciary and it never will be. If supremacy of judiciary and constitution had been that important to Chaudhry Sahib, he would not have taken oath under the PCO in the first place and served the good general for such a long time. It never was between the president/army and judiciary; the war is between two personalities.
The mantra of all power brokers and politicians – past and present – is simple. Democracy be damned; constitution be damned; judiciary be damned; heck, even the country can go to the dogs, as long as they get to do what they set out to do.
I am officially sick of Mr Nawaz Shariff.
His new wardrobe that he acquired in London, while in exile on corruption charges, his pashmina scarves and his head of new, albeit wispy and surprisingly black hair may have fooled some, but I know that not much has changed as far as his mental faculties go. He is still a little thick in the head.
According to a friend, in a rally in Lahore before elections, he asked the people that what kind of a commando is he (Musharraf) that he changed his foreign policy in Afghanistan when a woman called (he meant Condoleeza Rice – Mian sahib was factually incorrect as usual because Condi only became secretary of state in Dubya’s second term, if anyone had called Mush after 9/11, it was most definitely not Condi). He also called him names on account of Article 58 (2) B. The funny thing is that he is abusing mush for 58 (2) B even though he is the only President who did not use it. Ghulam Ishaq Khan used it twice and Leghari used it against his party leader Ms. Bhutto.
His party members have been sitting in a parliament for the past five years and he now calls it unconstitutional. If it was unconstitutional, then why contest elections and the participated in parliamentary affairs for the past 5 years?
Even the post election struggle is all about power. PML-N has selected Shariff brothers as their parliamentary leaders even though none are members of parliament. Can someone please tell them that they have to be elected members of any legislative assembly in order to lead a team of parliamentarians? Imagine, this guy has been our ‘elected leader’ twice and if things remain the way they are, we will have another election soon and will see him donning the cap of PM for the third time. Life is not fair, at least not in